NCAA Tournament Odds: Duke Favored Over Syracuse In Sweet 16 Showdown

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Duke Blue Devils forward Marvin Bagley III

Photo via Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports

A pair of No. 11 seeds hope to continue Cinderella runs when March Madness resumes Thursday. That includes the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, who take on No. 7 Nevada in their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1985 as narrow 1.5-point underdogs on the college basketball odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Loyola-Chicago needed last-second heroics to claim a 64-62 win over No. 6 Miami as 1.5-point underdogs in opening-round action and followed up with a 63-62 victory over third-seeded Tennessee as a 5-point underdog to extend its straight-up winning streak to 12 games going into Thursday night’s Ramblers versus Wolf Pack betting matchup at Philips Arena.

The Ramblers are on an 11-1 SU run in games played away from home but sit near the bottom of the odds to win the NCAA Tournament at a distant +5000. However, the Wolf Pack have lost two of three outright when favored by three or fewer points.

The Syracuse Orange return to the Sweet 16 as a double-digit seed for the second time in three years when they face No. 2 Duke on Friday as 11.5-point underdogs.

Syracuse claimed a 60-56 First Four win over Arizona State as 1-point underdogs to earn the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region, and buried the memory of a 5-7 SU stretch run with a pair of impressive opening weekend wins, capped by Sunday’s 55-53 upset of No. 3 Michigan State as 10-point underdogs.

The Blue Devils dominated in a pair of opening weekend wins, claiming victory over No. 15 Iona and No. 7 Rhode Island by an average margin of 23.5 points to take over the top spot on the national championship odds as +325 favorites.

Duke topped Syracuse 60-44 as a 13.5-point home favorite in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup Feb. 24. The Orange lag as distant +6600 underdogs on the March Madness futures but claimed outright victories as betting underdogs in their previous two meetings with the Blue Devils, including a 64-62 victory in Durham, N.C. in January 2016.

The Blue Devils’ ascension to the top of the national championship odds has been aided by last weekend’s stunning losses by the tournament’s top seed Virginia, as well as early departures by the North Carolina Tar Heels, Cincinnati Bearcats and Xavier Musketeers.

The top-seeded Villanova Wildcats stormed to lopsided wins over No. 16 Radford and No. 9 Alabama in East Region action but remain stalled at the +450 odds that made them early tournament favorites.

Those same opening weekend upsets have also lifted the Kentucky Wildcats and Gonzaga Bulldogs, who sit knotted at +700 on the title futures, followed by the Michigan Wolverines at +800 and the Kansas Jayhawks at +850, while West Virginia joins Purdue at +1600.

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